Sunday, January 20, 2013

Horse meat debacle shows need to promote 100% Irish produced food - O' Connell

The contamination of beef burgers sold in supermarkets here shows the need for Irish retailers to be encouraged to sell 100% Irish products and for the Department of Agriculture to ensure fair prices for food producers to enable them to compete.  That is the view of the Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin Oisin O' Connell who said that the sourcing of cheap additives from foreign companies was endangering the international reputation of Irelands food industry and was a threat to the fulfilment of the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.

Mr O' Connell said;

"The government has obviously tried to put a positive spin on this to reassure the public but the hard facts remain.  37% of burgers checked tested positive for traces of horse meat.  These burgers were on sale in several different supermarket chains exposing a maximum amount of customers to this contaminated meat.  This revelation has made worldwide news and is a major embarrassment to the Irish food production sector and a threat to the fulfilment of targets laid out Food Harvest 2020."

"Sinn Féin has consistently called for a more all-inclusive system of food traceability and labelling to be put in place in this state.  We need to have source of origin labelling on all food products sold here.  The idea that Irish beef products are been mixed with inferior additives and sold off to an unsuspecting public is wrong and needs to be amended immediately."

"It is estimated that with current population trends global food production will have to been increased by up to 70% in the coming decades.  Ireland has the potential to produce food for up to 36 million people.  The Food Harvest 2020 plan lays out impressive targets to greatly increase the productivity of our food production sector but these targets will not be reached unless the sector is protected against this type of debacle."

"The government needs to ensure that Irish people know where their food is coming from and that they are informed before buying inferior products.  A greater attempt must be made to ensure that Irish farmers can produce 100% domestic food produce competitively here.  Retailers need to be encouraged to buy Irish produced food as do public agencies.  Recently it was claimed by the HSE that they were under no obligation to access food from Irish producers."

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